Monday, February 27, 2006

I Joined The Unfriendly iPod Nation

For the past year, I always looked at a certain group of people with scorn and contempt. They thought they were just too cool to mix with regular society. Yes, I'm talking about The iPod Listeners On The Metro. Those white headphones really acted as a status symbol, letting the public transportation riding general public know that you have expendable income. Like $250 in expendable income. I always saw it as a combination of this showing off factor, but also an excuse to not say hello to anyone. Pretty much to disregard the existence of anyone living in the iPod. After seeing this for a year or so, I was pretty sure that I would refrain from carrying mine, thereby acknowledging other people's existence.

That is, until last week. I am sorry to admit that I joined the iPod people. Spurred on by a few events*, I started bringing my iPod along for the ride to work. It makes me feel incredibly unfriendly and shut off from the world. I thought I'd be making it better by not using the white iPod headphones also, and using some cheap earbuds. Shockingly, it didn't make me feel any better about the whole situation. So from now on, its back to just reading The Express or Examiner on the Metro. No more iPod. One week was enough time cutting myself off from society.

*A couple new albums came out, and I realized I really don't have a lot of time to just listen to music. I barely drive, and the car used to be my primary music listening location. Hence, resorting to iPodlating myself (yeah I just invented that). I'll take this opportunity to promote three bands I love:
1. New album, Broadcast to the World, by Zebrahead. This band sang the song Playmate of the Year a few years ago, and has been turning some great, unique music.
2. I Hate Kate. This is a small, up and coming band out of L.A. They just put out a new EP in preparation of a major label debut. I really wouldn't be surprised to see them blow up in a year or two.
3. Rediscovering Jimmie's Chicken Shack, a local favorite. To think, like 6 years ago they were touring the nation, headlining HFStival, and on the main stage at Warped Tour. Three years ago, as a fraternity social chair, I hired Jimmie's Chicken Shack to play our basement, and I guess this is what their stuck doing nowadays. Quite a fall from grace, but even with that, they still turn out good music, and put on an awesome show. They still play around Baltimore regularly, and their last album was silly.


At 9:16 AM, Blogger HomeImprovementNinja said...

I joined the pod people a couple of weeks ago. Transferring all your CDs to your iPod will be your new hobby for the next few weeks (I'm only about halfwaly done).

At 10:05 AM, Blogger Lonnie Bruner said...

Yea, because without iPods, there's so much effusive conversation that goes on between strangers on the DC Metro ...

At 10:14 AM, Blogger The Virginian said...

It's not that I expect people to strike up a great conversation on the Metro, which clearly wouldn't be realistic. I guess its more a perception thing with me about being available or receptive to the miniscule chance that someone would start talking to me.

At 11:11 AM, Blogger RoarSavage said...

I know what you mean about the pretentiousness of the ipod people. I'm waiting for my powerbook to arrive to set up my ipod- a christmas present. So last week, riding the metro while my car was in the shop, I used my discman. And the headphones I like cuz they cover my ears and give a better sound. But was it just me, or were those people looking at me like I was some social leoper or claud??

At 11:57 AM, Blogger The Virginian said...

Ninja: The loading up of my CDs onto the iPod hasn't been that big a priority for some reason (I've had the iPod for three years now). I loaded the CDs I really care about, but its mostly just random songs on mine.

Roary: They are totally pretentious and holier than thou. And it got worse after this last Christmas when everyone seemed to get one. It's not even unique anymore now that it seems like everyone has one. I too bring my trusty Discman to the gym about half the time.

At 1:02 PM, Blogger Lonnie Bruner said...

You guys should like a bunch of paranoid conspiracy theorist; no one cares WTF you're listening to, or how you're listening to it. Your perceptions are simply that: yours.

There's a tinge of jealously running through all your comments. You all must face fact: the iPod is as important--if not more--in this history of popular music as the gramaphone, record player and CD player.

Get over it. The rest of the world has.

At 1:48 PM, Blogger RoarSavage said...

Hello?! DCSewer *IS* a conspiracy theorist.
And where else do you post your own perceptions but your blog? CTFO.

At 4:58 PM, Blogger The Virginian said...

Dude, Lonnie, I'm not bashing the owners of iPods; I have owned one for a couple years now and enjoy the use of it. I snatched up an Apple version when that was all they had and used some budget iPod transfer program to use it on my PC. Clearly, YOU do not care "WTF you're listening to, or how you're listening to it", which is fine. Probably better. My point was that being surrounded in the culture of the DC area where a lot of times it seems that people hide behind their material possessions, be it Georgetown rowhouse, new BMW or iPod Video on the Metro, you start perceiving things differently. In my case, I've definitely started noticing other people's conspicuous usage of iPods and wondering if this is merely taking advantage of a new delivery method of audio, or if its what I pontificated about in my blog posting: a vaster social statement.


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